I started this blog to explore parenting and explore writing. Turns out, the two have a lot in common.. and impact one another. At least, there is a lot I’ve learned about my writing from being a mom these last four and a half months.
Namely, I’ve seen better how we can train ourselves to overcome inertia and fear. I do this with Baby O every day. In fact, that’s why we create routines. It’s hard to learn how to just fall asleep sometimes, but being consistent about going to bed every night with a ritual of a bath, food and a book helps train his body and brain to get to a sleeping place when the hour hits 7pm.
Turns out that is true for adults, too – especially writers. I’ve been reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and feel equal parts heartened and dismayed by the reality that all writers face a challenging, indeed painful, process to produce content. But the trick is finding a way to stick with it, to keep sitting there with the blank page until the words come.
As the motivational saying goes, “90% is just showing up.”
But showing up and staying there is not nothing. And that’s what I’ve learned from my kid. By creating routine – nay, embracing it – one can train oneself to be there in the time that counts. Just as Baby O has learned that bath signifies bedtime, so have I learned that in the evening after O has gone to sleep and the wife and I have eaten, that’s my window to write. Thats it. So I best get to it if I want to put something on the blog the next day. After a couple weeks of this pattern, come 8pm after dinner, it’s time to put fingers to the keys. My brain doesn’t fight it like it used to when I had no routine.
And in fact, I can feel my brain starting to generate ideas around the hour I’m going to sit down to write. Just like I can see O start to wind down when he gets out of the bath tub or I feel my milk come in around the time I know O needs to eat, words are starting to percolate to the front of my brain when dinner is wrapping up.
And the words come. Not perfectly, not always always easily, and rarely do they arrive eloquently or adding up to something particularly coherent. But they come faster than they used to, my brain doesn’t run from them so immediately – and I find my way to what I am trying to say.